had it been up to me, i would have booked a flight three hours after my last final exam, and a reluctant return flight on the Saturday night before the first Sunday of the new semester. with a heart flying like a glorious white bird, i would leave the obligations of university behind and embark on my journey back into myself, free in every sense of the word.

but it isn’t up to me; i’m still too young for such a luxury, and i accept it.

the different thing about this vacation is that it’s only 10 days in my favorite city. usually we stay longer than that. this shortness with its fleeting moments has inspired me with the idea to spend my days here really here, not in other places through this screen. i’ve vowed to the birds dancing over the Bosphorus to live my moments in this city without staining them with wishes and nostalgias, and i’ve vowed to the ebb and flow of the Sea of Marmara to keep myself open to the inspiration that will rain on me from this serene İstanbul sky.

with a novel whose writer makes İstanbul as much a part of his characters as their hearts and minds, and with a passionate urge to get my hands on every Turkish book translated into English that my eyes know they’ll never see in the shelves of the bookshops back home, i roam through the city and let its winds, its sounds, its scents, encompass me like a hug.

photos by İlker Yılmaz

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